The Science and Technology Committee has released a report highlighting the lack of Government policies in place to deliver the net zero target by 2050.
In order to achieve the Government’s key targets, an acceleration of deployment of low low carbon technologies will be required. The Government said it wants “almost every car and van to be zero emission” by 2050, which the report states is equivalent to removing almost 20,000 conventional cars every week on average, from now until 2050.
The report outlines the progress made by the UK towards meeting its 2050 target and identifies 10 key areas in which Government policy to support the deployment of low-carbon technologies has been delayed or cut back.
Whilst the ‘plug-in grant’ for low-emissions cars was reduced from £4,500 to £3,500 for the lowest-emissions cars in October 2018, and cut completely for other low-emissions cars, the ‘feed-in tariff’ for low-carbon power generation was also closed in April 2019 without a successor scheme in place. Both are examples used in the report to suggest that the Government’s 2050 target is “undeliverable”.
The report’s recommendations for change includes bringing forward the proposed ban on sale of new conventional cars and vans to 2035 at the latest. “In the long-term, widespread personal vehicle ownership does not appear to be compatible with significant decarbonisation. The Government should not aim to achieve emissions reductions simply by replacing existing vehicles with lower-emissions versions.”
In the near-term, the report also suggests the Government must consider the fiscal incentives for consumers to purchase both new and used vehicle models with lower emissions, and develop a strategy by the time of the Spring Statement 2020 to use vehicle excise duty and other incentives to drive the purchase of vehicle models with lower average emissions.
RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes said on the the report “RAC research suggests drivers’ dependence on the car is actually growing as they continue to see their own vehicles as the most reliable, comfortable and practical form of travel, something many simply cannot get with public transport at the moment. For more than a decade now drivers have said they would be willing to use their car less if public transport was better, but it remains the case that provision is poor in so many parts of the country.”
Lyes continued, “The priority for government must be to support the transition to zero-emission vehicles by prioritising both charging infrastructure and promoting take-up at the point of sale – and this can be done to a certain extent by reversing the decision to cut the plug-in car grant or look at options such as lower VAT on the purchase price of a zero emission vehicle.”
Read the full report here.